PARIS – The head of France’s Greens party stepped down from his post Monday after his former partner reportedly accused him of psychological abuse, amid mounting pressure within his party and broader efforts to hold French politicians accountable for misconduct toward women.
Julien Bayou said in a statement that he was resigning from his post as national secretary of the Europe Ecology-The Greens party, a growing force in French politics in recent years. He said he wouldn’t quit his parliamentary seat, but would step down from his post as co-president of the ecology group in the National Assembly.
Bayou had been suspended from the parliamentary leadership post since last week while his party weighed what actions to take about a complaint filed against him with the party’s anti-harassment unit. Fellow party figure Sandrine Rousseau said the complaint was filed by his ex-partner, and that she accused him of psychological abuse.
An internal investigation by the party is underway, but no criminal complaints have been filed.
Bayou said in his statement that he was put in an “untenable” and Kafka-like situation aggravated by pressure on social media. He said he wasn’t told directly what he’s accused of, and “I can’t defend myself because they refuse to listen to me.”
Last week, prominent far-left legislator Adrien Quatennens stepped down from his role as coordinator for the France Unbowed party after acknowledging slapping his wife. Influential three-time presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon initially defended him, and both drew widespread criticism within their leftist camp for not upholding pledges to defend women’s rights and fight sexist violence.
French politicians across the spectrum have faced accusations of misconduct toward women. Last week, France’s parliamentary speaker released the first public accounting of complaints to a special unit aimed at fighting sexual and other harassment at the National Assembly.